Skating draws despite heat
By 7 p.m. Friday, 11 people were skating in Florence’s gym. The turnout was in spite of 105-degree temperatures that baked the un-air-conditioned gym most of the day.
Florence Recreation Director Holly Pereillo has organized three skating nights since May. She said the first skating event in May drew 20 people. Participation increased in June with 30 people; 15 people were waiting at the door of the gym at 5:30 p.m. when Pereillo arrived.
“We just wanted to give kids in the county something to do,” Pereillo said.
The primary reaction Pereillo and her husband, Mike, have received about the skating events is that they are different from what the skaters expected — different and better.
A dimly illuminated skating rink — green, yellow, and red lights bouncing from disco balls providing the only light — was the vision skaters saw before they entered Florence’s gym. However, the Pereillos have kept the gym’s windows clear, allowing natural light to flood the rink floor for most of the evening.
To engage young skaters, the Pereillos have offered games such as red light-green light, featuring a three-second delay to allow skaters to stop and limbo.
The Pereillos hope to draw more people to Florence with weekly skating events beginning Saturdays in September, coinciding with the beginning of school. Holly Pereillo said a regular schedule will help the recognition of the events — skaters have not always been aware of when the events will take place.
The Pereillos also hope to keep the skating nights going through October.
“We’re hoping after September the city keeps the heat on,” Pereillo said.